It was a good sports year for all three Boone County schools.
With spring sports concluding for good earlier this month, it seems like a good time to reflect on the top-5 accomplishments of each public high school in the county.
Today we will look at all the top accomplishments at Zionsville
The lists were comprised after discussions with athletic directors and coaches, and some tough choices had to be made, but here is the list.
5. Girls Cross Country finishes runner-up at State
It’s not always easy to go from hunter to hunted.
But the Zionsville girls cross country team did a great job of handling having a target on their back throughout the 2018 season.
The Lady Eagles surprised a lot of people by winning the state championship in 2017, and with a big portion of that team back in 2018, the expectations were high.
The Eagles had an up-and-down regular season, battling injuries that gave them some question marks heading into the post-season.
But when the sectional came around, the Lady Eagles kicked it into overdrive.
They won their seventh-straight sectional title, then won their fourth-consecutive regional title. They made history in becoming the first team from Zionsville to win a semi-state and had momentum heading into the state finals.
At state, the Eagles ran well, but Fort Wayne Carroll put three runners in the top-9 individually and walked away with the team title and the Eagles placed second.
Katelyn Wasson earned all-state honors for the second-straight season, and senior Brooke Meredith placed 30th.
The Eagles will return all of their top-7 minus Meredith, and should be one of the favorites to win the state title this fall.
4. Girls Golf Team finishes runner-up, Anderson retires
Just like the girls cross country team, the Zionsville golf team entered the season as the hunted after winning the program’s first state championship the season before.
With three of their five players back from the title team, the Eagles won seven of their eight regular season tournaments, including winning the HCC title for the second-straight season.
They won the sectional title, and then placed second in the regional to advance to the State Finals.
The Eagles were tied for the lead with a 308 after Day One at state, and finished with a total of 612, which was actually better than the score they won state with, but Evansville North shot a single-day record 297 to win the state title. Annabelle Pancake and Abby Thielbar, who will both be back this year, were named all-state for the second-straight season.
In the spring, head coach Jeff Anderson stepped aside after 11 years in charge of the program, wanting to spend more time with family.
Anderson helped the Lady Eagles golf team reach new heights and become one of the top programs in the state.
In his 11 years, the Eagles have won two HCC titles, seven sectional titles, two regional titles, won the state title in 2017 and were the state runner-up in 2018. The Eagles qualified for state eight times, placing on the podium four times.
They also have the state record by shooting a 284 in the 2017 sectional.
3. Thompson, Nolan finish outstanding prep careers
It’s not every day that a school has a player come in that completely transcends a program.
For the past four years, Zionsville had not one, but two such players.
On the boys side, Isaiah Thompson rewrote the Zionsville record books, shattering long standing records. On the girls side, Maddie Nolan came in and helped completely change the identity of a program, leading them to heights that no one thought were possible.
Thompson will go down as the greatest player in Zionsville basketball history.
He is Zionsville’s all-time leading scorer with 2,139 points, which is 27th all-time in the state of Indiana.
He hit 294 3-pointers in his career, the most in Zionsville history, and hit 12 3-pointers in a game as a junior, another record.
Thompson also helped the Eagles end a long sectional title drought two years ago, and led the team to a second-straight sectional title this past season. The Eagles advanced to the regional final this past season, before losing to eventual state champion Carmel.
After averaging 22.9 points and 3.4 assists, Thompson became the first Eagle player since Derrik Smits in 2015 to be named an Indiana All-Star, and helped Indiana to two blowout wins against Kentucky in June.
“I am going to remember how great of people everyone was,” Thompson said after the All-Star games. “They took me in as a freshman, and challenged me and pushed me. Overall, there is nothing but great people at Zionsville and I am forever grateful to be able to put on that jersey. I made memories that will last a lifetime and I thank coach Busick for that.”
Nolan came in with a strong class four years ago and immediately changed a program that hadn’t had a winning season since 2013-14.
As a freshman, Nolan led the Eagles to 20 wins, and their first sectional title since 1996. The Eagles never stopped having success, advancing all the way to the state championship game in 2018, finishing runner-up.
With most of that team coming back, the hopes were extremely high for the Lady Eagles heading into the off-season. But late in the summer, Nolan suffered a microfracture in her knee, and it looked like her Zionsville career was over.
But she worked herself back onto the court, and behind the leadership of Delaney and Katey Richason, and Megan Sheridan, the Lady Eagles to a 14-8 record.
Nolan came back for the regular season finale, and helped the Eagles win the sectional title before they lost in double overtime to Homestead in the regional.
Nolan averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in five games and despite her injury, was named an Indiana All-Star.
While her senior year may not have gone the way she had hoped, she left a lasting legacy at Zionsville.
“I was lucky to have a lot of great teammates and coaches that helped me improve and really wanted to see you succeed,” Nolan said. “Luckily we were also successful so it was a great combination. I was really lucky to grow up in a community and have a team as close as Zionsville was. Having everyone out here supporting me was great and I am blessed to have all these people in my life.”
2. Boys Soccer team finishes state runner-up
The Zionsville boys soccer team came into the 2018 season with extremely high expectations, and nearly reached the ultimate goal.
The Eagles finished the season 17-2-3 and finished runner-up in the state, losing on a goal in the final seconds in overtime.
Zionsville tied its opening game 0-0, then won their next five games.
They improved to 7-0-2 after winning the Hoosier Cup for the third-straight year, and only gave up three goals in the process.
Hamilton Southeastern handed the Eagles a 1-0 loss in mid-September and it looked like that loss would keep the Eagles from winning the Hoosier Crossroads Conference title. But when HSE lost to Noblesville on the final day of the conference calendar, and Zionsville topped Brownsburg they won the HCC title.
After two hard-fought games to win the sectional title, the Eagles topped Greenfield-Central and Cathedral 3-0 each to win the regional.
They topped Bloomington South 2-0 to advance to the state finals before losing at state.
The Eagles had 14 shutouts on the season and only allowed 10 goals all season. Goalkeeper Sam Allen, and the back-line of Kent Bailey, Mitch Cross, Griffen Kiley and Josh Longmire.
Ben Weidner earned All-American honors after registering 12 goals and 11 assists, while Jack Seamands (six goals, nine assists) and Josh Longmire (seven goals) also earned all-state honors.
While the season didn’t end the way they hoped, head coach Rob Jordan said he wanted the team to be proud of everything they accomplished.
“We have talked a lot about the journey,” Jordan said immediately after the game. “I have had a team in the state final before, and when I see those kids, they don’t talk about the final game, they talk about the stupid things a guy did on the bus, or all the fun things that got them to the final game. It is going to be tough for them right now, but when they reflect on this later in their life, they will understand what an incredible thing they did this year.”
1. Ella Robinson wins state title in 300-hurdles
The top moment for the Zionsville 2018-19 was also one of the last.
Senior Ella Robinson dominated the field in winning the state title in the 300-meter hurdles.
Robinson’s title was even more impressive in the fact that she was coming off a muscle injury that cost her almost all of her junior season.
They changed her training regime a little bit her senior year, and the results were obvious. She was part of the indoor state champion in the 3,200-meter relay, and then once the spring started, she won early hurdles race she entered.
“I am so excited to really just be on the top of my game,” Robinson said before the state finals. “I really didn’t think I would be here at this point last year. I am just ready to compete next week.”
Once the state series started, Robinson found another gear. She set the sectional and regional record in winning both titles.
At state, she got out of the blocks quickly and never looked back. She finished in a career-best time of 43.05 seconds, which was the third best time in state history.
“God taught me a lot of patience coming here,” Robinson said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had my heart set on glorifying my God getting back to where I was. I worked hard, and I didn’t think I would be at this point, but it feels really good.”
Robinson was one of several standout performances for the Lady Eagles at state.
Katelyn Wasson was second in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in 10:31.05, and the Eagles placed fourth in two relays, with the 400-meter relay team of Cam Gietl, Michelle Nazarov, Lily Robinson and Sophia Yovanovich finishing in 47.58 and the 1,600-meter relay team of Nazarov, Robinson, Robinson and Lauren Rinehart finishing in 3:50.38.
Those finishes led the Eagles to a fifth place in state finish, with almost all the key runners coming back next year.